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Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame 2017

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 Hall Recognizes Players, Executives, Journalists and Entertainers of Irish Descent

New York, NY – The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame (IAB HOF) has inducted eight new members in its Class of 2017, which includes accomplished former players, one of baseball’s greatest managers, two award-winning baseball broadcasters, and the IAB HOF’s co-founder and longtime curator. The 2017 honorees are: Al Leiter, Pat Hughes, Casey Stengel, The O’Neill Brothers and John Mooney.

The induction ceremony took place on Tuesday, June 13, at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.), which houses the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. Voters include past inductees and a distinguished panel of baseball historians.

Current and Former Players
·        Al Leiter: A longtime player for the New York Mets (1998-2004) and Yankees (1987-89; 2005), Leiter was a three-time World Series champion and a two-time All-Star. He is an Emmy Award-winning baseball analyst for MLB Network and YES Network.

Leiter was drafted by Yankees out of high school in 1984, and pitched 19 years in the big leagues for the Mets, Yanks, Blue Jays, and Marlins. His 162 career wins include a no-hitter pitched on May 11, 1996, for the Marlins. Leiter was the first pitcher to win against all 30 current MLB teams. His maternal great grandparents born, raised and lived in Ireland.

Broadcasters

·        Pat Hughes: The play-by-play voice of the Chicago Cubs Radio Network since 1996, Hughes broadcasted the Cubs’ historic World Series victory in 2016. Hughes called Irish American Baseball HOFer Mark McGwire’s record breaking 62nd home run in 1998. He is an inductee in the WGN Radio Walk of Fame (only the third sportscaster to be honored) and has been honored seven times as Illinois Sportscaster of the Year. Hughes is proud of his Irish roots

Hall of Famers/Legends
·        Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel: An eight-time World Series Champion (one as a player, seven as Yankees manager), Stengel was named to the MLB All-Time Team in 1997. He also famously managed the 1962 Mets and wore the uniform of all four New York pro teams. In 1966, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Often regarded as “Baseball's Greatest Character,” Stengel was proud of his maternal Irish roots (Dillon).

·        The O'Neill Brothers: Four O’Neill brothers -- Mike, Jack, Steve and Jim -- from Connemara, Ireland, played in the Major Leagues. Steve hit .333 in the 1920 World Series, won a title as the manager of the 1945 Detroit Tigers, and never had a losing season in 20 years of managing. Mike played six years for the Cardinals and Reds and was the first 20th century NL pitcher to hit a Grand Slam. Jack played five years as a catcher with the Cardinals and gave signals to his brother, Mike, as Gaeilge (in Gaelic). Jim played shortstop for the Washington Senators in 1920 and 1923.

Executives

·        John Mooney: An amateur baseball historian, Mooney is co-founder and curator of Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. In this role, he screens and researches the credentials of IABHOF candidates. One of the nation’s top baseball book publicists and sports p.r. experts, he has helped charitable causes of Major League players raise tens of thousands of dollars. His Irish roots are in Annalong, County Down.

“This year's induction class includes a popular modern player, four Irish-born Major League brothers, an award-winning radio announcer, and ‘Baseball’s Greatest Character’, Casey Stengel,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia.

The IAB HOF will also present its Pete Caldera-Duke Castiglione “I Didn’t Know He Was Irish” Award, given to an honoree whose Irish roots are not widely known. This year’s honoree is Mike Siano of MLB.com.

Shaun Clancy created the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize players, managers, executives, journalists, and entertainers of Irish descent. Inductees are chosen based on a combination of factors: impact on the game, popularity on and off the field, contributions to society, connections to the Irish community, and, of course, ancestry.

The game of baseball has welcomed immigrants from its earliest days, when an estimated 30 percent of players claimed Irish heritage. Many of the game’s biggest stars at the turn of the 20th century were Irish immigrants or their descendants. Some of them included Michael “King” Kelly, Roger Connor (the home run king before Babe Ruth), Eddie Collins, Big Ed Walsh and managers Connie Mack and John McGraw.

“Starting Nine” and Other Previous Inductees
The “Starting Nine” inductees in 2008 were: the late Mets and Phillies reliever Tug McGraw; Yankee announcer John Flaherty; sportswriter Jeff Horrigan, NY Mets groundskeeper Pete Flynn; retired sluggers Mark McGwire and Sean “The Mayor” Casey; Kevin Costner, star of Field of Dreams and Bull Durham; legendary owner-manager Connie Mack; and longtime official scorer and sports columnist Red Foley.

2009 inductees: Walter O’Malley, longtime Brooklyn and LA Dodgers owner; sluggers Steve Garvey and Paul O’Neill, umpire Jim Joyce; veteran sportscaster Vin Scully; and Ed Lucas, a blind reporter who has covered New York baseball for four decades.

2010 inductees: Tim McCarver, veteran TV analyst and former player; Bob Murphy, longtime Mets announcer; Michael “King” Kelly, the game’s first superstar; Yankees GM Brian Cashman; Bill James, famed statistician and an advisor for the Boston Red Sox.

2011 inductees: Nolan Ryan, baseball’s all-time strikeout king; Big Ed Walsh, baseball’s all-time ERA leader; legendary New York Giants manager John McGraw; New York Yankees trainers Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue; "Baseball's Balladeer” Terry Cashman; and Chuck Lennon, former player, coach and lifetime fan of Notre Dame Fighting Irish baseball.

2012 inductees: Jimmy Breslin, author of Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?; Tom Kelly, two-time World Series champion manager with the Minnesota Twins; Gene Michael, former player, scout and GM responsible for building the modern Yankee dynasty; "Walpole Joe" Morgan, popular former player, scout and manager of Boston Red Sox; Jeff Nelson, longtime reliever, four-time World Series champion with the Yankees; "Wee Willie" Keeler, Dead Ball era legend; and Mike Roarke, credited with teaching the split-finger fastball to Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter and a supporter in the development of baseball in Ireland.

2013 inductees: Popular former Mets Rusty Staub and Joe McEwing; longtime owner of the LA Dodgers Peter O’Malley; Hall of Fame baseball writer Bill Madden of the New York Daily News; and award-winning columnist for the Boston Globe Dan Shaughnessy.

2014 inductees: veteran pitcher David Cone; longtime umpire Tom Gorman; Bill Shea, the driving force in bringing National League baseball back to New York in 1962; veteran baseball photographer Dave Schofield; and Hal McCoy, a longtime beat writer for the Cincinnati Reds.

2015 inductees: Mike Sweeney, five-time All-Star and former captain of the KC Royals; Dave O'Brien ESPN sportscaster and Red Sox radio announcer; Jack McKeon, a two-time NL Manager of Year whose 2003 Marlins won the World Series; Shannon Forde, a longtime member of New York Mets p.r. staff; and minor league baseball team owner Bill Murray.

2016 inductees: Kevin Millar, a member of 2004 Red Sox who helped end Boston’s 86-year World Series title drought; Andy Leonard, recognized as the first native of Ireland (Co. Cavan) to play in the Major Leagues; Dave Wills, play-by-play announcer for the Tampa Bay Rays; Guy Gallagher, visitors’ clubhouse manager for the Tampa Bay Rays and chief communications officer for MLB Clubhouse Managers Association; and Ed Coleman, long-time WFAN correspondent for the New York Mets.

Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.) is home of the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. Located across from the Empire State Building, Foley's is a popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires, media, and fans.  The "Irish Bar with a Baseball Attitude" features walls adorned with 3,500 autographed balls, bobbleheads, game-worn jerseys, stadium seats and other artifacts that make it the premier baseball bar in New York and one of the best sports bars in America. For more information, call (212) 290-0080 or visit www.foleysny.com or follow www.facebook.com/FoleysNYPub or Twitter @foleysny.

Pictured above
(left to right) Marty Appel (accepting for Casey Stengel), Mike Siano (“I Didn’t Know He Was Irish Award”), inductee Al Leiter, Shaun Clancy, president of the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, inductees John Mooney and Pat Hughes. (Credit: Dave Schofield)

 

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